Dear friends,

I have felt the tug of wanting to share things with you, my kindred spirits, and at the same time a reluctance to put into words what is transpiring in my heart and mind and life. So I have cocooned myself over the past six months. But now I feel the thinning of my chrysalis, the warmth of the spring sun penetrating its papery layers, and when I blink and stretch, I feel gossamer wings folded along my back. I am not who I was. I am not who I thought I would be. But I am very, very grateful for the process of old things dying and new things emerging.

So. Let’s talk about Lost In Scotland. For a lot of reasons, I can’t give you a date when that story will be ready for you. Don’t hold your breath, because I have not touched that story in six months. What I have written, mostly, is poetry. Here are a couple I’ve written during my time in my chrysalis.


I am looking for my soul
It was taken from me long ago
And I have missed it
Ever since
I have tasted fame
It is ashes on my tongue
I have gathered wealth
It goes
It goes
It goes
I have wrung myself dry
Like a cheap rag
I have laid down my needs
On the altars of “work” and “love me”
I have stamped down dreams
I have carried emptiness
Inside me as heavy as death,
And, oh, how I have cried.
outside the window
I see the dry husk of my soul
Leaning listlessly under a ruthless sun
Like a forgotten scarecrow.
It is a sad, forlorn thing
My heart thumps once, then twice
In recognition
I open the creaking door
And walk quietly across
The brown, dying grass
I pick up the thing that once was mine.
It is infinitely fragile.
I cradle it in my arms
I am so sorry, I cry
The door opens
They have missed me
I see them come at me
With outstretched hands
To mold
To take
To mangle
To use up
I clutch my neglected soul
Close to my chest
And I run
And run
And run
Toward the life I want
Dear God
Don’t let me look back


A Dream
What is it?
A seed?
An egg?
A chrysalis?
Yes. Something like that.
Can I…?
No! It’s mine.
I hold it in my cupped hands
And feel a flutter of life
Against my curved fingers
It could be


Along with these poems, I’m going to share something else with you: an updated headshot. This may not seem like a big deal to any of you, but it’s been a big psychological block for me. I loved my last headshot. I was younger and thinner and life had not made so many marks on me, and I found that I didn’t like any of my recent pictures. But I can’t keep going to events and having people not recognize me! So I think it’s time for me to embrace the fact that I am a 42-year-old mother of five, and offer my real self to you with no apologies. This was taken today by my very talented friend Erin Summerill (look up her books!)




Thank you all for your patience and support during my time in my cocoon. There will be more wonderful stories to come. And hopefully soon…a butterfly will emerge.

37 thoughts on “Chrysalis

  1. Miss Julianne, you are a beauty. Embrace all the wrinkles, they mean your life is happy. And embrace that poetry. It is a gift. Maybe it’s time to publish a volume of verses. I’m a huge proponent of exposing your audience to something that is new and high quality.

    I’m sure my niece Amy Hubbard, who is probably your biggest fan, will eat it up. So, keep it up, my dear. You’re amazing.

  2. Katie says:

    I love you even more for being so incredibly transparent. Thank you for sharing your heart with us.

  3. Madison Decaria says:

    I love this beyond words! Thank you for your amazing example and remembering what is most important in life. Beautiful poems! I can’t wait to read Lost in Scotland, but no rush! I could spend the rest of my life just reading Edenbrooke and Blackmoore and be perfectly happy 🙂 you’re fantastic! Thanks for all you do!

  4. Kandice says:

    Wow, you’re eyes are amazing, so beautiful! You’re so honest and open and true. My favorite author, by far! I’m sorry for the hardship you’ve been through, I found a bit of myself in your first poem. I felt that way for years, a long time ago. But I love who I am, and who I’ve become. God molds us, refines us, and makes us better. It’s so painful sometimes, but it’s​ what turns us into butterflies, as you said. Keep smiling, it’s a beautiful one!

  5. Kate Hamberlin says:

    Your poems are beautiful. It’s is refreshing to see someone so open and honest about themselves. Too much in life is showing only our best on Facebook and Instagram. Too much is photoshopped and distorted. Not to mention, there are so many of us that struggle with our own identities and image. Thank you for sharing your talents with these poems. I openly wept reading the first, for I have felt similar and it struck a chord with me. Hugs!

  6. Vicki Kielsmeier says:

    Beauty is in the eye of the beholder! You are beauty inside and out! It is not define by pictures, but by all that you are, a very talented, deep souled, artist of words and kind!! Importance of who you are is beauty!! Can’t wait to read your creations again!!

  7. Ruth Rosario-Morales says:

    Something inside me awakens when I read your work. Thank you. I am 46. I have lived so much, but oh how I wish I could express emotions, thoughts and fears as well as you. I’ve read Edenbrooke and I loved it. Now Blackmoore is the one that has captured me. I’ve read it more than twice now and it has not lost its intensity, its emotion. Your poetry is captivating as well. I’ll continue to wait patiently for your next masterpiece.

  8. Nicole Cavarretta says:

    I just re-finished Edenbrrok last night. How I love that wonderful book!
    Philip is my absolute, hands down, favorite hero of any book or movie I have read or seen!
    I love his sincerity, integrity, humor, depth…and I could go on and on.
    I also LOVE Blackmoore.
    And while I am enormously anticipating Lost in Scotland, I will FOREVER love you for writing two books that I can go back to over and over again, share with my daughter, sisters, and friends.
    You are a monster accomplisher in my book, and for that, NEVER allow your head sag a mm lower than as high as you SHOULD hold it!!

  9. Natalie Gillenwater says:

    Thank you for your bravery in sharing this with us! You are such a beautiful lady. You look absolutely incredible, especially for 42. Your novels have brought many late nights of page turning joy to my life. My anglophile heart never tires of Edenbrooke or Blackmoore. Also, thank you for setting an example of self care. May God bless you for sharing your gifts and honesty with us!

  10. Marcie says:

    Love your writing. Love your update. Love your photo 🙂
    Keep fanning those fires of your new self!

  11. Jeanne says:

    I love your new photo! I am sorry for the desert you’ve had to wander, but we’re all rooting for you. Looking forward to all your future stories, because I’m sure they will have a new depth to them. God bless!

  12. Jackie says:

    Wow. You’re a beautiful woman. Don’t shy away from the fact we all mature. You still look young and pretty. 5 kids I know I have 7. They keep u hopping.

  13. Emily Alberico says:

    It is so much easier to relate with you when you embrace all the humanity that God gave you! Not that it was difficult before, but there is more unity in honesty. Your poems are touching. What a gifted writer you are! Thank you for sharing with your readers.

  14. Jill says:

    A virtual hug and sincere encouragement to grow as slow as you need to toward whatever brings light and peace to YOU.

  15. Mickie says:

    I have been hoping you have been well. Your new headshot is lovely! Thank you for sharing your poetry. I have had similar feeling the last few months, a “who am I?” beyond just my normal role of wife and mother, who am I now? I am not the same as I used to be. Which is okay, it’s just different. 🙂 congrats on stretching those wings. Whenever you’re ready to fly on your own time, I’ll be cheering you on.

  16. Christy Grigg says:

    Your stories are a thing of beauty and so are you! Coming back from babies is super tough and figuring out who we are afterwards is no easy task. I’m so glad you’re emerging and I can’t wait to read your new stories!!

  17. Jenni says:

    Your poetry is beautiful, honest and from the heart. With so many fans it would be hard to rekindle the joy and freshness of writing without feeling pressured, but taking time for you and for your emergence as a new self can’t be rushed for anyone. Good job in realizing that already– it takes many a lot longer to figure it out.

  18. Mari says:

    Thank you for the update! Thank you for sharing your thoughts. The poems are beautiful! I would be lying if I said I wasn’t eagerly anticipating another book from you, but i’m happy to wait as long as you need me to! The most important thing is for you to take care of yourself, and your family! Edenbrook is a favorite book of all time. I’m not a writer, but as a reader I feel like you have an incredible gift. But there is a season for everything and when it is “The time to publish another book season”, we will all be so thrilled! But until that season comes, please know that you have nothing but love and support from me and I feel like I represent many of your loyal fans.

    I completely relate with you on not liking pictures of myself. I think your picture is beautiful! I hope someday to meet you in person. I found out you were at my local library (Orem) last summer after-the-fact, and was so sad!

    I finished re-reading Edenbrooke a couple of months ago and loved it. I hadn’t read it for a few years so much of it was brand-new to me (my brain doesn’t remember details very well). I feel a need to read Blackmoore again now, especially after your update.

    I hope it’s not too weird to say I love you!! You are a great person and that comes through in everything you write books, poetry, blog-posts). You are an amazing example of a woman and a mother (if I knew you personally I’m sure that list would extend to be a wife, friend, neighbor, sister, aunt, etc).

    Thank you for updating your fans and reaching out today. You are wonderful and have many earthly (and I’m sure heavenly) angels cheering for you and helping you along. Thanks again.

  19. Amy says:

    Your poetry took my breath away. It’s gorgeous. I’ve missed your writing, but it seems it has only improved during your time away, which is a good reminder to me that taking a step back can do wondrous things.

  20. Sandi says:

    Thank you for posting this. It takes a lot to bare your soul, even a little, to complete strangers. This is so beautiful. I have no idea what you’ve been going through, but as I read your poems it reminds me of the two years I lived under the shadow of postpartum depression. Illness of any variety is difficult to carry, but I’ve found, in my short life of 32 years, that illnesses of the emotional variety are the hardest for me to carry. I’ve also found that coming out from under that shadow of PPD was completely life changing and beautiful and, forgive me for running into the territory of spirituality, it enabled me to discover a part of the Atonement that I otherwise never would have known exists. For that reason alone, I wouldn’t trade the trial for anything.
    This is incredibly rambling and word vomit and all over the place, and you don’t even know me, so… I guess what I mean to say is that your poetry is beautiful and speaks to my spirit. Thank you again for sharing it with all of your fans.

    p.s. I’m re-reading Edenbrooke for the fifth time….since October….. I couldn’t tell you why it took me so long to discover it. It’s permanently in my top 5 favorite books of all time.

    p.s. again. LOVE the head shot.

  21. Terri says:


    You’re beautiful. I don’t think you look much different than before but for someone with 5 kids, you look fantastic.

    Thanks for sharing what is going on in you life and heart. We all love you and will wait however long you need us to for you to write some more.

    As others have stated. My favorite book of all time is Edenbrooke. I read it a couple of times a year and it never gets old. I’m getting ready to re-read Blackmoore and will be the first in line to buy you next book….whenever that may be. In the meantime, know we all love and support you always.

  22. Marcy says:

    From a 41 year old mother of seven, who doesn’t look bad just not 31 anymore, I can tell you that you did not need to preface your picture. You look great! You have inspired me to start snap chatting my girls when they snap chat me instead of erasing it because that 31 year old me is gone. There is a lot of good stuff that those 10 years have added besides the few extra pounds and the wrinkles. Thanks.

  23. Ema says:

    Mrs. Donaldson,
    you have such blue eyes.
    I remember the first glimpse of a golden spine beneath the birthday wrapping paper. Three weeks later, I had read Edenbrooke eight times in a row. My imagination latched onto it; it was like sunlight in my mind. Then, Christmas morning found me at Blackmoore Manor. Your second novel touched my heart. It was like a wild storm wind rushing through the inside of me. I remember how your beautiful phrases struck me, and I marveled again and again at the time and beauty that you put into your writing. Each one holds a special place on my bookshelf and my list of favorites.
    If you still need time, Mrs. Donaldson, take time. Your two previous books are like candles still alight; they can shine on while you care for yourself, your family, your needs. Don’t burn yourself out; please.
    I love your writing; I hope you do have or will have joyful peace. When you are ready, find the fun in flying through life again; you have given flight to so many.

  24. Natalee says:

    I look forward to your next book. A few well- thought-out books are better than many books that are cranked out just to crank them out.
    I think we’re all like you in some ways, trying to find the butterflies in us–amidst the realities of the battle scars of life–but still hoping… that someday…

  25. LLemon says:

    I hesitate to comment because I don’t want to add to your burden of keeping your fans happy, but I want you to know that your writing speaks to me and in it I see a beautiful woman with a beautiful soul who knows what love really looks like. Thank you for sharing that with us. Please write for yourself, not us. The pressure of other’s expectations can be debilitating and has kept me from persuing some of my own dreams. But if you happen to publish what’s in your heart that you’ve written for you I’m sure no one will be complaining 😉

  26. Janell Johnson says:

    I have not seen your previous photo, but it must really be something else to beat this one. Your stories are wonderful and I look forward to more. Welcome back, friend butterfly!

  27. Kathryn says:

    Every so often I come to your blog and hope something new has been written. What luck! This was a beautiful entry. Thank you for sharing.

  28. Diane Hunt says:

    Love you girl. Keep being real cause that’s what I love most about you. You dear, talented, brilliant, kind, hard-working friend.

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